ASHLAND, Ohio – In a battle for playoff positioning in the GLIAC volleyball standings, the Eagles came up short in their regular season finale, falling at Tiffin, 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-22), on Saturday (Nov. 6) afternoon.
With the defeat, the Eagles will hold the seventh or eighth seed in the GLIAC Tournament, which begins Thursday (Nov. 11). Ashland will play on the road at either Hillsdale or Grand Valley State. The Dragons, who clinched their first-ever spot in GLIAC Tournament on Friday (Nov. 5), are guaranteed no less than the seventh seed.
The Eagles (17-12, 10-9 GLIAC) trailed by just a point, 19-18, in the first set, but the Dragons reeled off four straight points to take control at 22-18. From there, the teams traded points with Tiffin taking the first set, 25-23.
The second set was a game of runs, but the Eagles could not keep up with the Dragons (15-14, 11-8 GLIAC), who hit .294 in the match. TU led the second set, 3-0, before the Eagles picked up three straight points to tie it on two kills by freshman Kate Eckels (Loveland, Ohio/Mt. Notre Dame) and one by junior Anesia Benton (Lima, Ohio/Senior). Tiffin eventually led, 6-4, and then went on an 8-0 spurt to push that lead to 14-4.
The Eagles responded by scoring eight of the next 11 points to make it 17-12. Tiffin made it 21-13 before the Eagles went on another 4-0 run to trim the lead in half to 21-17. The teams basically played side-out volleyball from there and the Dragons claimed the set, 25-20.
Ashland led the third set as late as 11-10, but Tiffin scored five straight points and never trailed after that point, sending the Eagles to the loss.
Eckels finished with 17 kills and hit .279 in the match with eight digs. Meanwhile, Benton added 11 kills in 24 attacks with just two errors. Sophomore Crystal Elliott (Canal Winchester, Ohio) had 38 assists and eight digs.
Brooke Bernabei led the Dragons with 12 kills and Jessica Adams finished with a match-high 45 assists.
The Eagles now await their opponent and host in the first round of the GLIAC Tournament, which begins Thursday (Nov. 11).